Filip Rudic, Belgrade, BIRN, March 8, 2019
Belgrade has accused Kosovo of killing off the EU-led dialogue process with its new 11-point platform for negotiations – but has promised a ‘moderate’ response.
Serbia’s leadership on Friday condemned the Kosovo parliament’s platform for further negotiations, which says fresh dialogue on the normalisation of their relations must end with the mutual recognition of two independent countries.
After meeting the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the new platform effectively meant that Kosovo had decided to stop the EU-mediated dialogue.
“The platform is against dialogue, especially considering Pristina’s stubborn refusal to abolish the unreasonable and harmful taxes on goods from … Serbia,” Vucic said.
Kosovo imposed a 100-per-cent tariff on imports from Serbia in November 2018, citing Serbia’s “negative behaviour” towards Kosovo’s statehood, which it refuses to recognise, and its international campaign against other countries recognising Kosovo as a state.
The Kosovo parliament adopted the platform on Thursday. Its 11 principles concern, among other things, Kosovo’s EU integration and membership of international organisations, which Belgrade vigorously lobbies against.
Media reports said the platform rejects the idea of border corrections, calls for mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia and for the abolition of UN Resolution 1244. Passed at the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, it placed the former Serbian province under UN jurisdiction.
The platform also insists that a final deal with Belgrade must include an agreement to establish a tribunal “to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate war crimes committed by Serbia in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999”.
Vucic promised that Serbia would respond with its own measures, but did not elaborate.
Hale made no statements in Belgrade – but the US embassy in Serbia repeated its stated opposition to the import taxes.
It recalled that the US “calls for the abolition of tariffs [on Serbian goods], ending mutual provocations and a continuation of dialogue”.
Hale visited Belgrade on Friday to discuss bilateral relations and advocate a return to the dialogue and normalization of relations with Kosovo.
On Saturday, he will meet Kosovo officials to talk about reaching a comprehensive deal with Serbia.
After the Vucic-Hale meeting, the Serbian President held a session of the national security council concerning the platform.
Following the session, officials revealed no details about Belgrade’s intentions, except that Serbia’s response would be “moderate” and “responsible”.